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Polina Soshnin

Your Technical Interviewing Roadmap

Let’s go over organizing your interview process like a boss.

Part One: Organization

Keep track of your interviews as they navigate through different states. I’ve tried using both Asana and Trello, and find Trello to work very well. Based on my experience interviewing, these are the possible states:

  • Applied: Online, Referral, or Career Fair/Hiring Network.
  • Coding Challenge: HackerRank timed toy problem(s), multiple choice, or take home project.
  • Phone Screen Recruiter: Behavioral interview.
  • Phone Screen Hiring Manager: Professional background, trivia web/cs questions, personal projects.
  • Phone Screen Coding: CoderPad shared live coding or verbally explain toy problem algorithm with an engineer.
  • Onsite: Whiteboarding algorithms/systems design, behavioral, live coding/pairing, presenting/extending project.
  • Offer: Compensation, base salary, etc.
  • Completed: no longer in the interviewing process.

Link to Trello template:

####How to use:

  • Number your apps to keep track of how many you’ve done. You’ll be able to see the last number in your Trello history stream.
  • Paste the job title and copy of description of job in the card to be able to reference job description later: I’ve found that companies will sometimes take down the job description and then 2 weeks later ask for an interview and at that point I would have forgotten what I had applied to, so document it! It also helps to have it in front of you when you’re interviewing.
  • Document your entire process with a company in card comments: what went well, what didn’t go well, what questions were asked, when did you last ping them, etc.

####Google Drive

In addition to tracking, it’s incredibly important that you keep all of your application and interviewing materials organized and up to date. This is what worked for me:

  • Resume (PDF)
  • Resume (Original)
  • Resumes
    • Previous Iterations
  • Cover Letters
    • Cover Letter Template
    • One tailored cover letter per company applied
  • Email Templates
    • Scheduling
    • Rejection
    • Thank Yous
    • Negotiation
  • Behavioral Phone Screen Worksheet
  • Angelist Template
  • Apps and Questionnaires (custom applications, ex. essay questions/multiple choice)
  • Company List/Notes
  • Recruiter Screen Notes
  • Personal Project Review
  • Additional Phone Screen Notes to help you feel prepared

####Github

  • Algorithms and toy problem repo

I found that redoing toy problems and seeing my progression through them/doing them in different ways was very helpful. Documenting my toy problem process on Github was also satisfying and kept me motivated to do it at least once a day.

Part Two: Execution

Applications:

  • Initially apply to up to 5 a day. Start at 5 or more a day in the first couple weeks.
  • When you have just about as many companies as you feel comfortable interviewing with at a given time, stop sending applications or keep it to 1-2 a day. This will depend on the individual, but I wouldn’t ramp up applying again until you have less active interviews in your funnel than you’d like.

Phone Screens:

  • One hour warmup (Interviewing is a performance. Figure out what works for you).
  • I schedule phone interviews in the mornings (9am-12pm). Figure out if there’s a good time of day for you.
  • I have a sheet of paper with me with the name of the interviewer(s) written on it, the name of the company, a reference of the job description handy, a reference of my notes pertaining to the kind of interview, and a list of questions specific to the company.
  • Make sure you have a glass of water.
  • I put my phone on speakerphone, which works pretty well for me and lets me take notes. Some people prefer nice headphones.
  • I also have my computer handy and a copy of my resume. Sometimes a recruiter/hiring manager will want you to take a look at something online in the middle of the interview.

Onsite

  • Bring a folder with you to the onsite and your computer/power cord.
  • Bring extra copies of your resume.
  • Bring a water bottle.